Fatima: What Are We Missing

The 100th anniversary of the Marian apparitions in Fatima, Portugal, is winding down; the visionaries Francisco and Jacinta are now canonized saints; the United Nations Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Our Lady of Fatima once again visited the UN; and we've prayed many, many daily Rosaries for peace. Yes, we should celebrate all this and more. But the Marian Helpers Center has also seen something surface that I find deeply alarming.

The question of the consecration of Russia
Throughout the year, we've received letters and calls from a number of our Marian Helpers, especially in response to the column by Director of the Association of Marian Helpers Fr. Chris Alar, MIC ("Fr. Joseph Writes," Summer 2017), and my piece ("All Heart," Fall 2017). These messages repeat a popular Catholic rumor: The consecration of Russia, as announced by Our Lady in the second part of the secret given at Fatima in July 1917, and requested by Our Lady in 1929, has not been performed by any of the popes - not even by St. John Paul II in 1984.

We've been sent a number of articles and excerpts from books and magazines that some of our readers believe prove this rumor true. These writings often rely on claims of forgery, character assassination, and so forth, all supposedly committed by the recent Holy Fathers or their close collaborators. The writers of these pieces usually conclude their argument with the apparently devastating final blow: "If the consecration of Russia has been performed as Our Lady requested, why isn't there peace in the world?"

Dispelling a rumor
Here's the problem with that rumor: To believe it's true is to believe that recent popes (including a canonized saint) have been enmeshed in a conspiracy of epic proportions. But why would they have bothered? After he was shot on May 13, 1981 (the anniversary of the first Marian apparition at Fatima), St. John Paul II took the message of Fatima very seriously and tried several times to perform the consecration. If Fatima visionary Servant of God Sr. Lucia dos Santos had told him that the 1984 consecration had not been accepted, there's no reason to suppose he wouldn't have tried again and again until he got it right. No, to the contrary: The Holy See and Sr. Lucia have said conclusively that the consecration of Russia has been accepted by Heaven.

In the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith's "The Message of Fatima," released June 26, 2000, as part of the Holy See's official publication of the full secret of Fatima, we read:

Sister Lucia personally confirmed that this solemn and universal act of consecration corresponded to what Our Lady wished ("Sim, està feita, tal como Nossa Senhora a pediu, desde o dia 25 de Março de 1984": "Yes it has been done just as Our Lady asked, on 25 March 1984": Letter of 8 November 1989). Hence any further discussion or request is without basis.

In Fatima for Today (Ignatius Press, 2010), pages 193-199 and Appendix C, Fr. Andrew Apostoli, CFR, lays out evidence that St. John Paul II understood the consecration requested by Our Lady to have taken place, in large part because Sr. Lucia confirmed it repeatedly in letters and to Fr. Luis Kondor, the vice-postulator for the causes of Sts. Jacinta and Francisco. Father Michael Gaitley, MIC, expands on the history of papal consecrations and why the world needed consecrating (not merely Russia) by 1984, in his book The Second Greatest Story Ever Told (Marian Press, 2015), Chapter 8.

Where's the peace?
But concerned Catholics dismiss all of this history, theology, and guidance from the Church and ask, "But if the consecration of Russia has taken place, then why don't we have peace? Where's the conversion of Russia? Where's the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart?"

The answer is in the secret of Fatima.

The consecration of Russia is not the only requirement for the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart, the conversion of Russia, and the coming of the era of peace. Our Lady also requested the Communion of reparation. From the second part of the secret:

I shall come to ask for the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart, and the Communion of reparation on the First Saturdays. If my requests are heeded, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace ... .

Saint John Paul II did his part. Are we doing ours?

What are the First Saturdays?
Our Lady explained the First Saturdays to Sr. Lucia dos Santos on Dec. 10, 1925:

See, my daughter, my Heart encircled by thorns with which ungrateful men pierce it at every moment by their blasphemies and ingratitude. Do you, at least, strive to console me. Tell them that I promise to assist at the hour of death with the graces necessary for salvation all those who, in order to make reparation to me, on the First Saturday of five successive months, go to Confession, receive Holy Communion, say five decades of the Rosary, and keep me company for a quarter of an hour, meditating on the ... mysteries of the Rosary.

Why five First Saturdays in particular? Jesus explained this to Sr. Lucia on May 29-30, 1930, saying:

Daughter, the motive is simple: There are five kinds of offenses and blasphemies spoken against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

blasphemies against the Immaculate Conception
Second: against her Virginity
Third: against the Divine Maternity, refusing, at the same time, to receive her as the Mother of mankind
Fourth: those who seek publicly to implant, in the hearts of children, indifference, disrespect, and even hate for this Immaculate Mother
Fifth: those who revile her directly in her sacred images

Here, dear daughter, is the motive that led the Immaculate Heart of Mary to petition Me to ask for this small act of reparation. And, out of regard for her, to move My mercy to pardon those souls who have had the misfortune to offend her. As for you, seek endlessly, with your prayers and sacrifices, to move Me to mercy in regard to these poor souls.

If we've made the Five First Saturdays once, are we done for life? "No!" writes noted Mariologist Fr. Donald Calloway, MIC. "You can and should make the Five First Saturdays more than once. In fact, I highly recommend it as a great spiritual practice!"

What's next?

So we've got a job to do. Let me offer an examination of conscience to help us discern where we go from here.

• Are we performing and promoting the First Saturdays devotion in our families, parishes, schools, and communities?
• Are we spreading the First Saturdays with the same effort and emotion we're putting into being concerned about the state of the Church and the world?
• Are we letting our concern for the Church and the world fuel our daily Rosary for peace in the world, our fidelity to the First Saturdays, and our devotion to the Immaculate Heart?
• Are we living trust in Jesus and Mary, and in the Church?

We are told by St. John Paul II, "Be not afraid!" and shown by his example that we should give ourselves totally to Mary. We are told by St. Faustina to trust in Jesus and His Church, preferring the Church's guidance even to private revelation (Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska, 497, 535). We are told by the Church that the consecration has been made, and we can see clearly that the First Saturdays are being neglected. Let us do our part, and trust in Jesus and Mary to take care of the rest.

Visit ShopMercy.org or call 1-800-462-7426 to order the pamphlet "Five First Saturdays In Reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary" by Fr. Donald Calloway, MIC.


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